Sign Up For Oxjam / Tram-a-lam-a-Sing- Song / Pole Tracks

I’m tied up with editing The Beestonian 19 right now, so excuse the brevity of this post. It should be a cracking issue anyhow, with a guest post from Q / Guardian journalist Ali Catterall; a fascinating piece on the lost cinemas of Beeston and loads more. Should be out Saturday. We’re looking to expand to 12 pages for issue 20, so need to take on a few more ads so we can afford it. We’re not-for-profit so it’s a big leap to expand: if you can help I’d hugely grateful. Drop us a line at thebeestonian@gmail.com if you want to be part of our magazine.

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oxjam

Short notice this, but the Oxjam Beeston Takeover are having an event at The Crown from seven to nine tonight, for anyone who fancies volunteering for fundraisers, the event itself, or both. You’ll get to meet the team, hear our very exciting ideas on what we’ll be doing this year, and then maybe sign up. See you in the snug!

If you can’t make it, click here and press like: https://www.facebook.com/oxjambeestontakeover

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My monthly column was in last Friday’s Nottingham Post. I hope you bought it, but if not, you can read it here: http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Matt-Goold-m-tune-singing-law/story-19078508-detail/story.html#axzz2UgeEo4xj

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And finally, a huge thank you to The Hop Pole for laying on one of the finest Bank holiday events Beeston has ever seen. In memorial of ‘Mad’ Mick Brookes, it featured ten hours of music, mostly in the glorious sunshine; The Dude beer, brewed exclusively for the event; and a wonderful communal spirit that showed Beeston at it’s best. Cheers to Karen, the Hop Pole landlady, and all the fantastic acts. Mick would have been chuffed.

Tebbit and The Self-Inseminating Lesbian Queens / Barton Pauses / The Legal Crack Dealers of Beeston High Road.

Tebbit recoiling from the phallic nature of the microphone.

Tebbit recoiling from the phallic nature of the microphone.

Huge thanks to all those who read and commented on the last post regarding gay marriage: it certainly bought out some strong, and very well argued comments. The level of debate is certainly more nuanced than that which raged in Parliament and continues to rage in the press: whether it be the idiocy of bigots such as Sir Gerald Howarth and his ‘aggressive homosexual community’ , or that perennial purveyor of swivel-eyed bat-shit Lord Tebbit, who railed against equality by claiming we could have a lesbian queen artificially inseminating herself; as well as threatening to marry his son to avoid inheritance tax. Nothing has been quite as amusing and well-argued as this fantastic speech:

The bill has passed, and should get through the Lords. Now, let’s all get on with our lives, as equals. And let’s face it, all marriages are a bit gay anyway.

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Simon Barton....into hibernation.

Simon Barton….into hibernation.

Some bad news confirmed today, with Simon Barton packing up Barton’s and putting it in storage until at least 2015. I’ve heard this might have been the case for some time, and hoped it wasn’t true, but alas.

I rang Simon earlier to chat about it, and his explanation is one of pragmatism: he can hardly promise customers – by this he means not just people attending the events, but those who are part of them, such as market traders- a guarantee that he can stay open several months ahead. The tram works have a dual effect on Barton’s: although you can drive by there now, there is no through route so the buses and cars that would pass each day no longer do so: and Barton’s loses it’s best form of promotion, it’s ‘shop window’. The second problem is one of access, and as the tram works rumble down Chilwell Road this becomes a greater issue.

He’s not bitter about this, and promises to be back. ‘If you said to me ‘does this work?’, well, it does’ he tells me ‘and if you ask me will it work again, well, from the positive feedback I receive I’d have to say ‘yes, and more so”. But? ‘If you ask me if it will work right now…well, I can’t take that risk’. He is adamant that Barton’s will rise again, once the works are complete.

Bartons031

This isn’t just bad news for Barton’s and those who enjoyed the diverse, often bizarre,  wonderful events the venue hosted. It’s bad news for Beeston, and particularly Chilwell Road, which hardly needs another knock right now. The knock-on effect could be considerable, and that is worrying. I have long stated my love of Chilwell Road and it’s independence, it’s freedom from the monotony and economically draining effects of multi-nationals and chains. If it survives the tramworks, we’ll have a strong reason for people to use the tram to come to us, rather than go into town. I see it’s existence as key to the ‘soul’ of Beeston, it’s unique, arty, enthusiastic heart. If we lose it, we take another step towards becoming  AnyTown.

So what to do? You tell me: I want to hear your opinions, your ideas. Let’s do what we do best in Beeston, and work together on this problem. Broxtowe Borough Council: it’s imperative you look into this, and try and identify a solution. I’m not asking that any special treatment is dished out; but I do ask you to consider the wider picture. A few months, I was asked to be a witness at a council meeting looking into how to boost the night-time economy. They do care, I’m sure. Yet Beeston is not made of autonomous entities operating individually: it’s a holistic town, historically so. It’s what gives us that precious commodity: civic pride, community spirit. Once lost, it’s near impossible to claw back.

Your comments, please.

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There is another worrying development in Beeston. Now, some people attack the High Street for it’s prelavence of charity shops, but I’m a fan. I’d prefer a charity shop than no shop at all, and as one on a limited budget, shop frequently from them. My house has many articles, including a lovely walnut wardrobe, from such shops. Then there are the causes they support: we have a diverse range, so you can even do your shopping with a choice on where you want your pennies to go off to.

I recently worked on a piece for Issue 19 of The Beestonian, about ViTal, the newish charity shop in the centre of town. We were looking at a fairly light-hearted piece around how they’d managed to get there hands on loads of stuff from the London Olympics, from tracksuits used by the games-makers to the ironing boards used in the Athletes Village. It’s a great charity called Young Potential that is behind the shop, an organisation dedicated to providing emotional and educational support to young people aged 13 to 18 with learning disabilities. They offer programmes and training, all of which revolve around their music, arts and drama facilities, all designed to increase self-confidence and produce healthy, emotionally literate,  responsible and happy adults.

But Theresa, the charities founder, later got in touch with me. She was upset. Apparently, Ladbrokes appeared yesterday, and started putting up signage. When questioned on what they were doing, Theresa was told that they had bought up the lease and would be evicting them soon. This came as something of a shock, as ViTal had no forewarning. They threatened to sue the charity for loss of takings should they put up any resistance.

This is disgraceful behaviour. While some moan about charity shops in Beeston, the real scourge is ignored. Since the credit crunch, the greatest growth business in Beeston has been the scum – and I don’t use that term lightly, they are a disgrace to humanity –  the scum that set out to exploit the poor.

Money lenders who trap the otherwise credit-disenfranchised into appalling, inescapable spirals of debt . Pawnbrokers who lure in the desperate. Bookies who are little better than legalised crack-dealers.

Now, you might think I’m being extreme here. Thing is, I actually like a gamble here and there. I always throw a quid in for a game of Sticky 13 if it’s being played in a pub, despite not winning since 2004. I spent most Saturdays as a child with my gran in St. Apleford bingo hall, being fussed by gravelly voiced, huge-cigarette wielding matriarchs.

But Ladbrokes and their ilk have taken things further. A liberalisation in the gambling laws – they are very powerful lobbyists – has allowed bookies to install FOBTs: Fixed Odd Betting Terminals. These are high-stakes machines that allow gamblers to stake vast amounts, up to £100 every 20 seconds. They are so effective at extracting money from punters they now account for around 50% of a bookies turnover, but 80% of their  profits, in excess of a staggering £2.4 billion a year. The non-profit campaign group Fairer Gambling estimates that at least £250 million of this is from ‘problem gamblers’: those whose habits lead to family breakdown, crime, and high debt.

Betting shops are aggressively expanding around Britain, such is the potential to suck up cash. At present, each shop is only allowed four FOBTs, so the more shops, the more terminals. With an estimated 450,000 problem gamblers in the UK, the bookies are desperate to ensure they can squeeze enough out of each one. Hence the disproportionate amount of betting shops with FOBTs in poorer areas.

‘So what? They bring jobs, they pay taxes, don’t they?’ you may reply. Well, it’s not as clear as that.

The machines, according to the Campaign For Fairer Gambling, kill two jobs for each they create. As for tax, the amount collected set against the cost of mitigating the effects of gambling – kids taken into care, crime etc – probably means that they actually take more than they give. Even if this is not the case, it still is a wickedly retrogressive tax.

Again, let me state that I’m not against gambling. But FOTBs are to the odd flutter what crack cocaine is to a cheeky pint after work. Stop them kicking out ViTal with such bully-boy tactics.

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We’ll wrap up on a  much lighter note, with possibly the best thing ever, featuring the ultra-photogenic Jimmy Wiggins from The Guitar Spot: http://wigginsinthepub.tumblr.com/

Same Sex Marriage Debate: A Report by Jane Marshall.

Yesterday, after writing about the same-sex marriage debate hosted by Soubry, I went off to an Oxjam meeting, thus unable to attend the meeting itself.

I soon started receiving some disturbing tweets and text messages from people who were there, and it sounded like things were not going too smoothly. I asked one of the attendees who tweeted me if they would write me a report on the meeting, which they kindly did. If anyone else wishes to send me some more details, please do. I’ll hand over to Jane Marshall for her take on the meeting:

Anna Soubry better than God???????: By Jane Marshall.

A tweet from Lord Beestonia prompted me to attend the Anna Soubry public meeting on Same Sex Marriage. As I strolled down Clarkes Lane behind a gay couple and walked in with two lesbians I congratulated myself on choosing to live in progressive, liberal, diverse Beeston rather than Step’Bridg’ford

But my euphoria was short lived when I entered the church hall to be met by the sea of grey, the buttoned up blouses and the rustle of The Daily Mail. 150 people, 140 Christians, standing room only. Let the battle commence.

gaymarriage

Anna stated her case well on why she supported the bill: it was a matter for personal conscience and it was just the right thing to do. No applause. She then opened it to the floor and what followed was an hour of pure hatred, bigotry & small mindedness. Talk of the deviant act, the unnatural practices, the non evolutionary behaviours undertaken by those ‘homosexuals’ was rife; they didn’t want their grandchildren taught about gay sex. Anna asked if they were referring to anal sex, an act she said that was also undertaken by men and women in heterosexual marriage but she wasn’t particular partial to it herself. The smelling salts flew out of their Mrs T handbags.

More toxic comments on how AIDs would be stopped if we got rid of gays, how gay marriage was the slippery slope to incest and how marriage should be between a man & woman solely for the procreation of children. One woman in all seriousness asked Anna if the government had considered the cost of changing all the dictionaries to include this new fangled definition of marriage. Another asked about changing all the great novels ever written. Each clarified they were not homophobic; that had met a gay once and he had seemed ok; but each stated their own brand of Christianity, bible-believing, fundamental, evangelistic, catholic priest, vicars all trying to prove that they were more righteous than the last speaker, top religious trumps.( more factions  than our local Labour party.)

Finally a lone voice spoke, a Christian who worked for the Samaritans said he knew the affects of intolerance, followed by a woman Christian preacher who helped young adults cope with being gay and a lesbian who had just got engaged to the woman she loved. The silent minority was finding its voice. Each was passionate about why they believed in this Bill and spoke about their disappointment at the ‘waves of hate’ flowing around this church hall. They wanted equality of rights, the same aspirations for all people, the legal backing of marriage that civil partnerships didn’t provide and for all people to marry the person they loved.

This meeting was a brave move by Soubry, these are her key voters in a marginal seat. The photo shows 1 empty seat where 1 man walked out saying he would never vote for her again (normally I would be giving it a hearty Here Here) but ‘So be it’ was her defiant response.

I left at 10pm, it was still going on like a bad Ken Dodd gig. The heavens opened and I heard a speaker saying she was there to represent God and this was the start of his retribution on us if we let this Bill through, the start of his damnation against us, the start of the persecution by gays against Christians.This caring, sharing God I had heard so much about tonight. As I went through the doors I saw the woman preacher and gave her a hug, grateful she had spoken out. Me hugging a Christian, cheering on Anna Soubry. God certainly moves in mysterious ways. Jane Marshall.

Post Script: We’re recieved a couple of other testimonials from people who attended the meeting, and I wanted to put these up in full. Please let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below.

I was there and as someone who is currently ‘engaged to enter a civil partnership’ (so romantic sounding, isn’t it?), it is something that I am passionate about.

The majority of people there were strongly opposed to same sex marriage, but then people are more likely to turn up complain about something than to support it. Also, holding it in a church isn’t very welcoming to LGBT people that may have had negative experiences with organised religion in the past, so they may have felt too intimidated to attend.

I have read that the meeting ‘descended into bigotry’ and I admit that it was hard to sit and listen to people saying that my love and my life is sinful and unnatural, especially when it was often born out of misinformation and prejudice. Much of what was said was offensive not just to gay people but also to anyone who has a ‘non-traditional’ family (ie have children out of wedlock/adopted children, etc). I would say though that attending has helped me to understand others’ points of view; I only hope that they can say same.

In terms of what was said, some views held on the basis of religion (or how that person interprets their religion) I disagreed with, but respect people’s right to hold them. Other opinions were misinformed, hurtful and even laughable. Still others, however were lovely affirmations that there are generous, kind people across different faiths, genders and sexualities.

I spoke about the inequality between civil partnerships and marriages, both legally and from a personal view point and a number of people came up to me afterwards to thank me for speaking and to wish me and my fiancee all the best in the future. That is what I’ll choose to remember about the night, not the hurtful views of some, but the wonderful support of others. Amy.

Anna Soubry hosted a Q&A-style debate on the equal marriage bill on Thursday. I wasn’t expecting the numbers or supporters to opponents to be very favourable, not least because the event coincided with the second eurovision semi-final. But going to a debate to have your relationships and life scrutinised, judged upon and derided by complete strangers was never going to be an appealing prospect for many.

Anna almost showed up late to the meeting, held at Clarkes Lane Methodist Church in Chilwell, due to a blown-up tyre on her car. I can only assume this was a sign from God of the evening to come. Within minutes of thanking everyone for turning up it had spiralled into a homophobic hate-fest with all the arguments I’d naively thought had been laid to rest in the 1980s reappearing. Homosexuals spreading AIDS, coming into your children’s schools, having “unnatural” anal sex, living deviant lives, comparisons with incest. Some insisted that same-sex couples could never properly be married; they can’t consummate because homosexuals apparently don’t have sex. Plenty of talk about God and Jesus, as if they ever said anything about same-sex couples marrying or everyone in this country still believes in them.

Numerous self-declared “bible-believing Christians” (presumably keepers of slaves, who eat no fat and stone their stubborn children) spoke about their persecution. Teachers no longer able to teach kids that same-sex attraction is wrong. Never mind the 80% of LGBT youth who are bullied in schools. Bibles and prayer books having to be rewritten. Just think of the cost! It all reminded me very much of the American debates prior to Obamacare. I had thought myself lucky to live in a country where that kind of hysteria and spreading of misinformation on an issue I’d assumed most civilised people would have no problem with wouldn’t happen. It seems I was wrong.

I’m a young gay man. This wasn’t a debate about a policy disagreement. It was a debate about my life and my future. I’ve been assaulted, spat at and bullied; but sitting for two and a half hours in a room full of supposedly good Christians through all those jeers and all that hatred has to be one of the most unpleasant and uncomfortable experiences of my life. A small number of other LGBT people attended, including some from deeply religious backgrounds, and spoke passionately about their relationships and desires. They happen to be exactly the same as everyone else’s there. Love and commitment. Why would anyone have a problem with that? Why would other people’s marriages disintegrate because some of us want the same rights?
I don’t think the debate should have happened, especially in a church. It wasn’t a safe space for LGBT people. Anna, to her credit, kept her cool throughout and defended the legislation. I’m not thanking her for her commitment to a yes vote. Doling out or accepting gratitude for simply acknowledging other people’s lives, futures and expectations as equal to anyone else’s is an absurd concept. But her handling of that meeting and resilience in the face of such hysterical hostility really is worth some respect, on this issue at least. Stewart.

In Support of Soubry; No, really!

I’m often accused of barking on about Soubry too much. A fair point, perhaps, but she is our elected representative and there are few other places for your casual Soubry-watcher to get info from. Now she’s stropped off from The Beeston Express we’re denied a horse’s-mouth insight into her work, although I have been reinstated back onto her mailing list, as have a few others who reported they’d been kicked off.

Now, I’m not a total Soobzaphobe. I disagree with the way she is using Broxtowe as a career stepping-stone, rather than a chance to serve the public good; I disagree with a lot of the things her party stand for and the callous way they’re carrying out their plutocratic plans, but occasionally, just occasionally we find common ground and I am obliged to give her a cap-doff.

So it is with her views on gay-marriage. She is stridently for this policy, and I salute that. I’m not quite sure what the objection is to be honest. It also is odd that those who believe the state should get out of our personal lives – Tories in this country, Republicans (particularly tea-baggers) in the US – become particularly fascinated with the most intimate details of our personal lives when it involves sujects such as homosexuality and abortion.

This simple infographic has been doing the rounds on the internet for a few months, and handily dissects the argument:

Image

Anna seems to have had some objection to her stance though, and as such is holding a meeting tonight at Clarkes Lane Methodist Church, Chilwell to discuss her stance. If you wish to attend, it kicks off at 7.30pm and should run for around an hour. I urge you to go, and – yes, that noise is Hell freezing over- support Anna and her stance on this bizarrely controversial subject. The bill is before the Commons on Monday.

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Beestonia does a lot for charidee, and does want to talk about it.

After gorging on politics for the past few weeks, I’m taking a well-deserved break and instead throwing what small pools of energy have left into what looks like a corking summer of fun in Beestonia.

Last week was the real treat: a bank holiday of sun, barbecues and sangria courtesy of the fantastic White Lion. Sorry to bang on about it again, but it’s a huge relief to see a pub get rescued after years of neglect. It’s a proud addition to the pantheon of great Beeston pubs: The Crown, The Hop Pole, The Grey Hound and yes, I suppose the Vic. Now, if Blue Monkey Brewery wants to have another look at doing up The Star, we’ll be the best pubbed town in Britain.

Not tried the new White Lion yet? Well tonight might be the chance. An acquaintance of mine, Chris, is running a charity night there this evening. Chris has been instrumental in setting up a new mental health charity called The Next Step Network, which provides peer-led social, educational, vocational opportunities for people with mental health difficulties, to enable them to reach their highest potential in a society that is understanding and accepting of mental health.

All very worthy, and definitely worth the £3 minimum donation on the door. For that you’ll get some fab musicians, including Beestonian musical stalwart Rosh Rai;  and also featuring talents Ali Bonsai, , Des Youngs , Ryan Thomas , Anwyn Williams and Becky Syson.

They’ll be a raffle with free tickets to Alton Towers, The Theatre Royal and lots more as prizes, plus a, ahem, ‘three foot balloon model of Popeye’. Get down tonight. I’ll be there.

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Issue 18 of The Beestonian is now out in our usual outlets. If you’d like a copy an d can’t make it into Beeston, then we’re offering a mail-order service: simple send an A4 SAE to pur postal address at The Beestonian, c/o 106 Chilwell Road, Beeston, Notts NG9 1ES. It’s free, but if you wish to show gratitude then feel free to make a donation which we will pass on to our Oxjam Beeston Takeover campaign.

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Oxjam is coming along nicely, with some fantastic fundraisers being planned. I should have news of the first one soon: if you’re a canny baker, cake-maker, etc, then you’ll really like it. I’m presently working on my Paul Hollywood beard in preparation. Should be fab. We’ll also have a stall at Beeston Carnival in July….again, more later.

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And a bit more charity to finish up on. My lovely partner, Ellie, aka Queen Weasel, completed her five day Below the Line challenge, only spending a pound a day on food  for the duration. She did admirably, putting up with my selfish eating of posh food in front of her. At one point, her envy got so heightened I had to eat a Toffee Crisp at the bottom of the garden. I later caught her sniffing the wrapper.

She smashed her £250 target by a clear £100, but fear not. I know many of you who read this donated, and that I commend, thank you. Yet if it slipped your mind, there’s still time to donate, click here to do so.

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A Guest Post From Luke Nightingale: Soubry’s Problematic Punctuation.

In March this year the government released its new “framework” for testing the spelling, punctuation and grammar of 8-11 year olds.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has implemented a series of back-to-basics reforms which involve testing 11-year-old children on their ability “to use punctuation marks correctly in their writing, including full stops, question and exclamation marks, commas, inverted commas, and apostrophes to mark possession and omission.” (Framework Document, p. 9).
Keen followers of the Broxtowe political scene will already be fearful of our local MP’s prospects under this new back-to-basics regime. Indeed, assessing Anna Soubry MP’s regular email newsletters against Michael Gove’s criteria is a time-consuming task. Why? The sheer volume of punctuation errors made by Soubry is quite extraordinary. She routinely pluralises “MP” with an apostrophe, appears to have no knowledge of compound adjectives, has a bizarre understanding of quote marks, and often splits single words in two (“stereo typing”, “grand parents”), often with amusing consequences.
A careful reading of Soubry’s output suggests that her punctuation almost never meets the standards that her government expects of 11-year-old children. According to Gove’s Draft National Curriculum, children of this age are required to successfully use “the semi-colon, colon and dash to mark the boundary between independent clauses” and to understand “how hyphens can be used to avoid ambiguity (e.g. man eating shark versus man-eating shark, or recover versus re-cover)”. Indeed, many of Soubry’s newsletters fail even to meet the standards demanded of 9-year-olds, who are expected to successfully use “apostrophes to mark singular and plural possession”.
The incredible frequency of Soubry’s errors suggests that the problem is one of incompetence rather than sloppiness. And apparently the office staff who check her writing do not have adequate literacy skills either. It is remarkable that, from the £89,684.10 that our MP spent on staff in 2010-11, Soubry was unable to find a single employee with the punctuation proficiency of an 11-year-old.
It may be that readers simply do not believe my claims. To convince yourselves, please stroll over to the “Anna Soubry’s Punctuation” site (http://annasoubryspunctuation.tumblr.com), which has, since Easter, been publishing one new Soubry error per day. So far enough have been found to keep up this publication frequency until the end of the year at least.
Fortunately, thanks to Michael Gove’s reforms, Soubry will soon be able to brush up on her literacy skills at any local primary school. I wish her well in her endeavours.

Field Farm. A Finger of Fudge For Everyon

 

Aww, politics. That system that best resembles a kitten stuffed with snakes.

Soubry met Pickles today, as previously noted.

She met him to try and persuade him to reject the Borough Council plan to develop on Field Farm.

He met her, she said her piece. He replied. The rest is in not recorded.

Anna then released a statement. It laid clear why she understood the Tories would take a hit. Mid-term disillusionment, etc. Osbornes austerity plan, that now even have the IMF shouting down as a fast-track to collapse are dismissed thus:

the economic recovery is not where we had hoped it to be

At least they are not trying to deny they have made major economic mistakes.

Yet her central local campaign, Greenbelt protection, is in pieces should Pickles refuse to veto Broxtowe’s proposal. It will show that despite the best of efforts, and I commend Anna on her vociferous and dedicated campaigning, despite all this it was mere pissing in the wind.

So she meets Pickles, and what occurs? Alas, we will not find out until AFTER the election as Pickles has waddled off to apparently consider the proposal.

How convenient. I spoke to Richard MacRae earlier today (Wednesday). I outlined the fudge and he expressed a massively pragamatic response: ‘Ah. She’s a politician’

And she is. Nothing less, nothing more.

She knows what Pickles will say. He will tell her to apply a veto his office will see an avalanche of anger. Chief among these will be Westermans, the builders who are eagerly awaiting th green light to send the developers. I stress this is a personal view, but Westermans Homes are up there with Persimmion Homes for providing the kind of box only a gimlet-eyed sociopath would wish to build.

Anna is aware of this, let this be clear. So she has purposely refused to let the residents of Trowell, Stapleford and Bramcote know -and she knows, not let that be in doubt- where Field Farm lies.

I do not endorse any party or candidate. I only hope I shed a light on the local scene. In this case I think anyone looking for answers on Green Belt development realises that Anna Soubry, MP, is not the saviour they think she might be. The Field Farm issue is wildly complex, and I swear I will soon post up a analysis of the situation, but for now it seems that if you do wish to oppose development there; or at least trigger a debate that is not hi-jacked by political opportunism, vote accordingly. Readers in Stapleford and Bramcote, you have two votes. Use one to vote for your stripe of choice, but if you want  to really get your voice heard, use your second choice and vote MacRae.

I will repeat: Beestonian does not endorse any Field Farm stance. I grew up near there, and I;d hate to see it go. On the other hand, I understand the pressures that councils are under to provide sites for development. I understand that the inequities in property ownership are so great we are creating another bubble. I do understand that we need to have a review on council tax valuations; on property tax viability, on land tax.  There lies the argument.

What I don’t stand for is highly cynical attempts by politicans who hijack a strong campaign for their own ends; knowing it was doomed to failure cos -oops- their own party is chomping at the bit to chew into greenbelt- to take a real grass-roots campaign ran by politically-neutral activist, and pervert it.

Pervert it for their own means. Soubry lies supine before Pickles, let there be no doubt. She came away with one compromise today: they would not announce until you’d all safely slipped your slips into a ballot box. Vote accordingly.

Soubz, I need not tell regular readers, is the epitome of cynical politics.Vote tomorrow. Vote accordingly.

Aww, politics. That system that best resembles a kitten stuffed with snakes.

Soubry met Pickles today, as previously noted.

She met him to try and persuade him to reject the Borough Council plan to develop on Field Farm.

He met her, she said her piece. He replied. The rest is in not recorded.

Anna then released a statement. It laid clear why she understood the Tories would take a hit. Mid-term disillusionment, etc. Osbornes austerity plan, that now even have the IMF shouting down as a fast-track to collapse are dismissed thus:

the economic recovery is not where we had hoped it to be

At least they are not trying to deny they have made major economic mistakes.

Yet her central local campaign, Greenbelt protection, is in pieces should Pickles refuse to veto Broxtowe’s proposal. It will show that despite the best of efforts, and I commend Anna on her vociferous and dedicated campaigning, despite all this it was mere pissing in the wind.

So she meets Pickles, and what occurs? Alas, we will not find out until AFTER the election as Pickles has waddled off to apparently consider the proposal.

How convenient. I spoke to Richard MacRae earlier today (Wednesday). I outlined the fudge and he expressed a massively pragamatic response: ‘Ah. She’s a politician’

And she is. Nothing less, nothing more.

She knows what Pickles will say. He will tell her to apply a veto his office will see an avalanche of anger. Chief among these will be Westermans, the builders who are eagerly awaiting th green light to send the developers. I stress this is a personal view, but Westermans Homes are up there with Persimmion Homes for providing the kind of box only a gimlet-eyed sociopath would wish to build.

Anna is aware of this, let this be clear. So she has purposely refused to let the residents of Trowell, Stapleford and Bramcote know -and she knows, not let that be in doubt- where Field Farm lies.

I do not endorse any party or candidate. I only hope I shed a light on the local scene. In this case I think anyone looking for answers on Green Belt development realises that Anna Soubry, MP, is not the saviour they think she might be. The Field Farm issue is wildly complex, and I swear I will soon post up a analysis of the situation, but for now it seems that if you do wish to oppose development there; or at least trigger a debate that is not hi-jacked by political opportunism, vote accordingly. Readers in Stapleford and Bramcote, you have two votes. Use one to vote for your stripe of choice, but if you want  to really get your voice heard, use your second choice and vote MacRae.

I will repeat: Beestonian does not endorse any Field Farm stance. I grew up near there, and I;d hate to see it go. On the other hand, I understand the pressures that councils are under to provide sites for development. I understand that the inequities in property ownership are so great we are creating another bubble. I do understand that we need to have a review on council tax valuations; on property tax viability, on land tax.  There lies the argument.

What I don’t stand for is highly cynical attempts by politicans who hijack a strong campaign for their own ends; knowing it was doomed to failure cos -oops- their own party is chomping at the bit to chew into greenbelt- to take a real grass-roots campaign ran by politically-neutral activist, and pervert it.

Pervert it for their own means. Soubry lies supine before Pickles, let there be no doubt. She came away with one compromise today: they would not announce until you’d all safely slipped your slips into a ballot box. Vote accordingly.

Soubz, I need not tell regular readers, is the epitome of cynic politics.Vote tomorrow. Vote accordingly.

Field Farm. A Finger of Fudge For Everyone.

Poll Day Looms / Soubz vs Pickles / White Lion Roars Again / Costa del Beestonia

It’s an incredibly busy week for us here at Beestonia Towers; not only have we got a new print edition of The Beestonian coming out in the next few hours (impatient? Then read it online here) , but we’ve also got an election tomorrow, as you may have noticed, and we’ll be covering events at the polling booths tomorrow, and then blogging LIVE from the Broxtowe count. We should be the first to bring you the news on any changes, surprises and conclusions, so go over to http://beestoniabattleofbroxtowe.wordpress.com/ , click ‘follow’ and we’ll keep you up to date on developments. Alternately, follow me on Twitter by searching for me at ‘beeestonia’ (note the triple ‘e’, this was the result of a bad pun about the Libyan capital). I’ll tweet news and gossip live from the count.

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A brief update on SoubzNooz: today Anna meets Eric Pickles in Westminster to see if he’ll obligingly turn down Broxtowe Borough Council’s recommendation to develop on Field Farm in Stapleford. Now, this could go two ways. One, Pickles relents under Soubry’s withering gaze and vetos the plans. Two, he refuses. If he plumps, and yes, that’s what Eric does when he makes a decision, for scenario one, he faces a legal challenge from Westerman, the developers ready with the bulldozers; as well as outrage amongst developments in places such as Essex and Stratford that he has green-lighted. Will he be willing to submit to this shit-storm?

If he goes for scenario two, which I imagine he will do, then one of the strong themes of Anna’s local activism is scuppered. Voters in tomorrow’s ballot may therefore see that Anna may have put up a decent fight to protect the green-belt, but eventually proved ineffectual.

Could there be a third scenario, one of compromise? The mechanism of Parliament and inner party lobbying are far from transparent, so who knows? Will be interesting to see if she chooses to announce the result before Broxtonians go voting.

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A weird twist in the Anna free-speech thing. It seems I, and several others, have been put back on her mailing list after being kicked off recently. All very odd. I was looking in the legality of using a budget provided by all constituents to communicate only with those who didn’t dissent,  but whatever the rules, it’s still an almost Stalinist approach.

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WHITE LION

I visited the newly done-up White Lion yesterday and was impressed. The pub has been a sleeping giant for years, ground into crapness by uncaring, asset-stripping PubCos. Now it’s in the hands of two Portuguese chaps who have redecorated it into something plush again, started up the kitchen and given it a Portuguese twist. I tried their tapas last night, and it was gorgeous and more than a fitting substitute for that offered up by the much missed Library. I also tried -in the name of journalistic rigour, of course- a shared jug of sangria. It was utterly fabulous, a fruity yet strong Med cruise in a wine glass. It slightly jars when you’re savouring the summer taste and imagining sitting in the warmth outside a beach-front tasca, before glancing out the window at the next door funeral parlour. Still, give it a try. Welcome back into the fold, White Lion / Branco Leão.

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I’m especially fond of Portugal, having spent a few years living in the Algarve during a period of Beestonian exile. bizarrely, my dining partner last night was a guy called Stu who also lived there for a while, albeit a few years earlier.  Today on twitter I’ve notice many people pointing out it’s the 16th anniversary of the 1997 Labour landslide, which I was away for.

I still remember how I found out though. I was trying to get from my prior job at a resort in Altea in Spain to Albufeira in Portugal, where I’d been promised a better contract. I packed my stuff, and left the Costa Blanca. However, the trains were all fully booked due to it being a Festa, so I ended up squandering a small fortune on a flight to Seville, then a taxi (!) to Huelva in Andalusia, where I was to be picked up from and taken to my new job.

I got there late in the day, and was told at the tourist kiosk it would be impossible to find a room as they were all booked up, due to people arriving for the Festa. Dejected, I wandered the streets before finding the worst Pensão in Spain, where the bed sheets were marked with the name of a hospital, and mosquitos were as thick in the air as a murmuration of starlings. I dropped my stuff off, went out into the evening heat and went to find a bar that would let me eat for a tiny amount of pesetas I still had left.

I stopped at one bar, and asked for a menu. A cursory scan made it clear I would struggle to buy a starter, let alone a full meal. I got up to leave. As I did, the bar owner stood up, shouted ‘Hey! Inglés?’

‘Yes’.

‘Then you stay. You eat. You no pay’. He ushered me back to my chair, as I stared at him bewildered.

‘You make Tony Blair the leader. He is a great man! ‘ He pushed the menu back in my hand ‘Now you choose. No pay’.

Blair’s legacy is still subject of fierce debate. Yet his win in ’97 instantly improved my life.

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However, if I’d gone back after 2003 that same bar owner would probably have spat in my food.